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Crestview Church of Christ
Both of the Gatewoods became language students of Mladen Jovanovic at Zagreb University.
Soon after, Mladen became a Christian and was quickly joined by his wife Dragica.
They have been serving the Lord in their native Croatia since then.
Mladen serves as pulpit minister to Kuslanova - Zagreb congregation, one of the 12 Croatian churches fully recognized by Croatian authorities.
Mladen also teaches at Zagreb Bible Institute and writes and translates Bible-related books.
is the author of Who Are We Christians? and The Way to God , both in the Croatian language.
As the president of the Croatian Bible Society, Mladen recently completed a 12-year project translating the New Testament into modern Croatian language.
Dragica serves as a Bible school teacher and coordinator of elementary school classes on religion for Churches of Christ in Croatia.
and Dragica have three children: son Sasa, electrical engineer, married to Tanja, Ph. D. psychologist; son Tino, stock market spokesman, married to Marina, history teacher; and a daughter, Andrea, fashion designer.
Croatian church leader Mladen ...
Croatian church leader Mladen Jovanovic dies at 68
Mladen Jovanovic (PHOTO PROVIDED)
Mladen Jovanovic, longtime church leader in the Central European nation of Croatia, died unexpectedly Sept. 6 after an apparent heart attack.
Jovanovic had just returned to his home in Zagreb, Croatia, after performing a wedding at a Church of Christ in Albania, said Drasko Djenovic, a Church of Christ member in Belgrade, Serbia.
"Mladen Jovanovic was probably the best-known preacher in this part of the world," Djenovic told The Christian Chronicle.
Jovanovic was the first Church of Christ minister in communist Yugoslavia.
helped establish congregations in Zagreb and Belgrade before the Iron Curtain collapsed, Djenovic said.
Jovanovic later became the president of the Council of Churches in Croatia.
"Mladen has been one of the strongest Christian examples and most influential leaders in Europe and Eastern Europe for more than 40 years," said Lynn McMillon, CEO, president and editor of the Chronicle.
Jovanovic family with broken hearts must inform you that Mladen, our dear husband, father, and grandfather passed away last night, Sept. 6, 2013.
It appears that he
suffered a massive heart attack and died instantly.
All of us are in shock!
By all appearances, Mladen
was in good health and has been as active as ever in service of Christ and His
sudden death has left all of us stunned and brokenhearted.
But we are proud of the life that he
love for Jesus Christ and His
Kingdom has served as an example for all.
Each of us are blessed by his
love of God and the way that he
loved our family.
passionate concern for the Church produced a life of faithful service not only in Croatia but throughout Central and Eastern Europe.
The family asks that no flowers be sent.
Instead, contributions can be sent to the memorial fund that is being established to honor his
life and legacy.
had one dream left unfinished.
wanted to complete plans for a much needed expansion of the church.
In a 2003 interview with the Chronicle
discussed the roles of Churches of Christ in post-Soviet Europe:
How have the Zagreb church's efforts as a relief center in the 1990s influenced the development of the church?
Mladen Jovanovic, early in his ministry. (PHOTO PROVIDED)
Related Story: Jovanovic
was a man of wisdom, faith
PHOTO PROVIDED BY VLADO PSENKO
, right, and fellow minister Vlado Psenko, review a script for "The Valley of Blessings," a gospel radio program produced by Churches of Christ in Croatia.
Jovanovic was a man of wisdom, faith
Jovanovic was a man of wisdom, faith
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Bailey McBride BAILEY MCBRIDE | THE CHRISTIAN CHRONICLE
The death of Mladen Jovanovic
was a terrible shock to his
wife, Dragica, his
two sons, his
daughter, the church in Zagreb, and churches in the United States and Europe.
I first met Mladen when he came to Oklahoma Christian University to serve as visiting missionary for one semester.
taught a Bible class and a course in linguistics.
He was a hard-working teacher who made a powerful impression on his students.
A few years later he
returned to OC when one of his
sons was preparing to graduate.
On that visit, he
traveled almost every weekend to various churches to tell the story of Croatian evangelism.
met many people around the United States and told about the Croatian churches' struggle to have legal identity with the government.
was one of those amazing people who always made others feel that he
was their lifelong friend.
was open and caring in ways that elicited respect and honor.
We knew that Mladen
had sometimes moved his
family to Graz, Austria, to protect them from the war raging in and around Zagreb.
Joy arranged for us to travel to Graz to meet Mladen
, who traveled there to record the radio broadcasts that had introduced Zagreb and the surrounding territories to the Churches of Christ.
We had dinner with Mladen
and learned more about the situation the nations were facing.
Many people were turning to God as the troubles increased.
Our time with Mladen
was short, but we saw that all the fighting was only strengthening his
faith and his
resolve to preach Christ.
In 2005, at the Pan-European Lectures
in Warsaw, Poland, Mladen
and Dragica were there.
Twenty years earlier, the Jovanovics had lived in Warsaw, and Mladen served as professor of linguistics at the University of Warsaw.
worked diligently at the university, but he
also shared his
invited students to his
house for Bible study and worship.
and Dragica had led many to Christ, and they served as mentors and shepherds to the believers.
Before the lectureship began, Mladen
had contacted as many of his
former students as he
could and invited them to a reunion.
Many of his
former students came and brought their families to meet a favorite professor.
At worship on Sunday, many of those people met with the church to hear Mladen
I remember one older lady who came carrying a leather Bible that Mladen
had given her
At the end of the worship service, one of the men stood up and talked about the closeness to God he
had experienced when he
studied and worshiped with the Jovanovic family.
once explained to me why the family had left Poland and returned to Yugoslavia.
Dragica and Mladen
had great concern for their families and their countrymen who did not know God.
They went home to teach and lead their people to Christ.
and Dragica traveled the United States early each year to report in person about the growth of the Zagreb church.
Afterward, the Walkers opened their home to Mladen
and Dragica each year when they were in Oklahoma City.
Since that time, a dinner with the Walkers, the Jovanovics and McBrides became a ritual.
We all learned so much about the communication skills, wisdom and faith of Mladen
Heaven has gained a great servant and leader.
Related story: Croatian church leader Mladen Jovanovic dies at 68
FTG Church of Christ Home Page
Mladen Jovanovic encouraged our members to attend the camp.
Mladen and his lovely wife Dragica have been a great blessing to the church in Warsaw and we are thankful for them.
also spent almost a week in Warsaw earlier in November and did much teaching and counseling with our members.
Mladen and his family lived in Warsaw from 1972-79 when he was a visiting professor in Serbo-Croatian languages at the University of Warsaw.
During that time he
worked with the church in Warsaw and so he
knows many of our members and he
is fluent in Polish!
and Dragica have been a blessing to the Lord's work in Warsaw and we are very thankful for their love for the church in Warsaw.
Also, we are very happy that Mladen
and Dragica Jovanovic will be with the Warsaw congregation for several days the end of this month through the first few days in April.
Speakers - Tulsa International Soul Winning Workshop
Speakers | Bob Waldron | Marvin Phillips | Ron Bainbridge | Behailu Abebe | Roger Dickson | Tex Williams | Wendell Broom | Sam Shewmaker | Howard Norton | Dan Rodriguez | Truitt Adair | Richard Baggett | Tony Coffey | Mladen Jovanovic | Rick Pinczuk | Gwynneth Curtis | Larry Henderson | David Bearden | Joyce Hardin | Ron Holland
never saw a Bible until he
was 23 years old.While teaching as a professor of Linguistics at the University of Zagreb
in the former Yugoslavia, Jovanovic
met missionaries Bud Picki and David Gatewood.
...Mladen was an exchange professor, delegated by the Yugoslavian government, at the University of Warsaw, Poland, from 1971-79.
After leaving Warsaw, Mladen
was involved in graduate Bible studies at the Institute for Christian Studies
in Austin, Texas.He then began working full-time for the church in Croatia under the direction of the elders at the Bammel Road Church of Christ in Houston, Texas.Mladen served as a missionary-in-residence at Oklahoma Christian University in 1989-90.
Having returned to the mission field, Mladen
currently produces ten Christian radio programs which are broadcast over six stations in Croatia.He
has recently been responsible for the Braille Bible being published in the Croation language.Mladen
serves pulpit minister and evangelist for the congregation in Zagreb.The church has been active in relief work since the beginning of the war in the former Yugoslavia.The congregation in Zagreb has been able to supply food, clothing, and medical care to over 3,000 homeless people.